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The inevitable Tomos

October 1, 2018

Autocephaly and Tomos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Kyiv Patriarchate, which first appeared to be becoming a reality in April 2018, will assuredly occur before the year end.

A matter worthy of note for a blog that (willingly or otherwise) continues to be pulled toward matters of organised crime and national security (occasionally not withstanding “defence” more broadly).

As such the autocephaly of the Kyiv Patriarchate and church-wide recognition of the Kyiv Patriarchate as an independent and equal entity to that of the long-perceived subordinating Moscow Patriarchate is in a broad sense a matter of national security.  This not only as it will reduce Moscow meddling within the bureaucracy and hierarchy within the Kyiv Patriarchate (despite a number of its current subversive clergy within the Kyiv church), but also as a solid block within the foundation of nation building.

There will no doubt be media interest from just which patriarchate any potential/current parliamentarian will wheel out and be photographed with during the next Verkhovna Rada election period from summer to October 2019.

For some, such as Vadim Novinsky, Sergei Kivalov and Nikolai Skorik, clearly the choice is already made.  Certainly Messrs Novinsky and Kivalov have a decades long and very public association with the Moscow Patriarchate.

For others like Mr Skorik, he will follow the Oppo Block party line – or for as long as his ultimate master Dmitry Firtash desires such an association.

If proof were required, the 29th September visit to Odessa of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onufry provided it.

Naturally also present were Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail Agafangel.  Agafangel for 30 years has been a stalwart backer of Moscow and The Kremlin, and became particularly prominent due to a natural and undoubtedly prolonged shift in societal view away from Moscow since 2014.

Indeed, Agafangel has oft been accused (perhaps not inaccurately) of being far more than the shepherd of soviet and post-Soviet Kremlin leaning souls in the southwest of Odessa.  Occasionally he has been accused of being far more than a passionate useful Kremlin idiot, or even an agent provocateur too.

Of course Tomos and autocephaly will be robustly resisted by those aforementioned, despite its inevitability prior to the year end.

A reader may perhaps keep a watchful eye upon the permission to build Kyiv Patriarchate places of worship in deepest and darkest south-western Odessa – or not, when permission is not forthcoming, or forever stuck in local authority bureaucracy.

No doubt a rather defiant but pointless stand when, as the years and decades ahead pass and the Kyiv Patriarchate will come to dominate (if not completely replace) the Moscow Patriarchate.

It will thus be interesting to witness which Patriarchate the parliamentary and local political class wheel out for their election/re-election campaigns and festive season messages of goodwill and hope that will infect the local television broadcasts a few months hence.

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